December 27, 2016

PITTSBURGH (8-4) Vs. NORTHWESTERN (6-6); PINSTRIPE Bowl; 2 PM ET; ESPN … The Wildcats are a feisty bunch under HC PAT FITZGERALD. They started the season slowly, but played some really solid ball to end the year at .500. The play a bit of Offense and a bunch of Defense. But they are likely to be outclassed in this contest by a PITT team that has rolled up points in bunches, especially late in the season. Comeback POY JAMES CONNER has improved steadily all season and earned himself a /RB/# returned from his victory over cancer to excel both as a runner and receiver. He has already declared his intention to go pro after this game. Meanwhile senior QB/PETERMAN #4 has improved all season and even got an invite to Mobile for the Senior Bowl. I expect the Wildcats to hang with the Panthers for a while, but are likely to pull away in the second half. Players to watch:

PITTSBURGH                                                                   NORTHWESTERN
#5 EJUAN PRICE/DE/ER 6’0/250                                    #90 C.J. ROBBINS/DE 6’5/300
#24 JAMES CONNER/RB 6’2/230 JR                                #7 IFEADI ODENIGBO/DE 6’3/250
#53 DORIAN JOHNSON/OG 6’5/300                                #1 ANTHONY WALKER/LB 6’1/235 JR
#54 TYQUAN JARRETT/DT 6’3/335                                #21 JUSTIN JACKSON/RB 5’11/190 JR
#69 ADAM BISNOWATY/OT 6’6/300                              #76 ERIC OLSON/OT 6’6/295
#83 SCOTT ORNDOFF/TE 6’5/265                                   #80 AUSTIN CARR/WR 6’1/195

WEST VIRGINIA (10-2) Vs. MIAMI (F) (8-4); RUSSELL ATHLETIC Bowl; 5:30 PM ET; ESPN …  The Mountaineers are probably the most under-appreciated teams in the country, with their double digit win total. THat may be due in large part to laying an egg, at home, in their big game with Oklahoma on their home field.But the team is well balanced and may have most of their RB group healthy for this contest. Their OL is very solid with several pro prospects as you will see below. Their D has also shined at times and is led by their pro prospect CB/RASUL DOUGLAS. MIAMI may be playing with BRAD KAAYA @ QB for the final time. He’s started since Day 1 as a frosh, and would be a Top 4 QB prospect if he comes out early. He and STACY COLEY/WR are a dynamic duo. WVU looks to have the depth and talent to prevail in the long haul. Players to watch:

WEST VIRGINIA                                                              MIAMI
#6 DAIKIEL SHORTS/WR 6’1/205                                     #2 JOE YEARBY/RB 5’9/207 JR
#7 RUSHEL SHELL/RB 5’10/215                                         #3 STACY COLEY/WR 6’1/195
#13 RASUL DOUGLAS/CB 6’2/208                                    #6 JAMAL CARTER/S 6’1/209
#49 DARIEN HOWARD/DT 6’1/300                                 #15 BRAD KAAYA/QB 6’4/210 JR
#57 ADAM PANKEY/OG 6’5/315                                        #26 RAYSHAWN JENKINS/S 6’2/208
#65 TERRY ORLOSKY/OC 6’4/295                                    #29 CORN ELDER/CB 5’10/178
#97 NOBLE NWACHUKWU/DE 6’2/275                          #63 DANNY ISADORA/OG 6’4/310
…                                                                                                  #86 DAVID NJOKU/TE/6’4/245/RSO

UTAH (8-4) Vs. INDIANA (6-6); FOSTER FARMS Bowl; 8:30 PM ET; ESPN … This one looks like a major mismatch on paper. The talent advantage clearly goes to the UTES, and on top of that INDIANA HC KEVIN WILSON was forced to resign by the school administration last month. Watch for Utah RB/JOE WALKER/#, who “retired” back in September, and then was talked into retuning when injuries decimated the RB corps. He’s been a 200-yard per game rusher since his return. IU as a solid OL, led by DAN FEENEY/#67, the consensus top OG prospect for 2017, but he can’t block everybody at once. I expect a double-digit Win for the UTES. Players to watch:

UTAH                                                                                        INDIANA

#20 MARCUS WILLIAMS/S 6’1/195 JR                                #4 RICKY JONES/WR/RS 5’10/184
#29 JOE WILLIAMS/RB 5’11/205                                         #44 MARCUS OLIVER/ILB 6’1/235 JR
#49 HUNTER DIMICK/DE 6’3/272                                      #67 DAN FEENEY/OG 6’4/305
#52 SAM TEVI/OT 6’6/305                                                     #77 DIMITRIC CAMIEL/OT 6’7/310

TEXAS A&M (8-4) Vs. KANSAS STATE (8-4); TEXAS Bowl; 9 PM ET; ESPN … I have great respect for HC BILL SNYDER of K-State, but not all 8-4 teams are created equal. A&M faced a tough SEC schedule on a weekly basis, while the Wildcats basically beat no one with an overall winning record. SNYDER will likely keep his team in this with a conservative game plan relying on the opponent to make a few mistakes, while his troops protect the ball. That will work for a while until super star MYLES GARRETT/DE/#15 leads the A&M Defense in pressuring any/all K-State QBs into mistakes. GARRETT may be healthier than he has been since September for this one, which is bad news for the Wildcats. A&M also has big play potential on Offense with receivers REYNOLDS/SEALS-JONES/KIRK all able break the big play. QB/TREVOR KNIGHT/#8 should be fairly healthy and able to lead the Offense. A&M will likely pull away from State for a convincing win. Players to watch:

TEXAS A&M                                                                         KANSAS STATE
#9 RICKY SEALS-JONES/WR 6’5/240 JR                         #6 DEANTE BURTON/WR 6’2/205
#10 DAESHON HALL/DE 6’6/270                                       #9 ELIJAH LEE/LB 6’3/220 JR
#11 JOSH REYNOLDS/WR 6’4/190                                    #10 DONNIE STARKS/CB 6’0/180
#14 JUSTIN EVANS/S 6’1/195                                              #22 DANTE BARNETT/FS 6’1/195
#15 MYLES GARRETT/DE/ER 6’5/265 JR                       #24 CHARLES JONES/RB 5’10/206
#33 SHAAN WASHINGTON/LB 6’3/235                          #75 JORDAN WILLIS/DE 6’5/260
#65 AVERY GENNESY/OT 6’5/310